Skip to content

Final Four Previews: Sully vs. T-Rob a clash in the post

Mar 28, 2012, 11:00 AM EST

Amir Williams, Thomas Robinson

Back on December 10th, then-No. 2 Ohio State heading into Lawrence to take on then-No. 13 Kansas, pitting arguably the two-best low-post scorers in the country in Jared Sullinger and Thomas Robinson up against one another, was supposed to be the highlight of a solid slate of college basketball.

Alas, the battle we all had hoped for wasn’t in the cards as Sullinger’s balky back kept him out of the lineup. Fortunately for Sullinger, this storyline was quickly forgotten as the college basketball world was taken over a scuffle you might have heard about and a buzzer-beater you may have seen┬áreplayed a time or two.

The good news is that the battle we missed will be seen on a much bigger stage this weekend in New Orleans.

The only thing that remains to be seen is just how much time those two will spend matched up against one another, because while both rely heavily on their strength on the block, they have very different back-to-the-basket games.

Sullinger’s offensive game starts with his ability to establish position. He’s got the hindquarters of a Kentucky Derby champion and he knows how to use it to create space. Combine that strength and that size with his low-center of gravity, and it is borderline impossible to move Sullinger once he seals off a defender in the paint.

But that is where Sullinger’s reliance on his physical tools ends. He is a very skilled and fluid scorer on the block. He has terrific footwork, a litany of moves in his arsenal and a soft touch around the rim. You’ll probably see him bank in a jump hook from about 10-12 feet at some point during this Final Four. Trust me, he called it. And don’t be surprised when he steps out and knocks down a three. He only attempted 38 this season, but he is shooting 42.1% from deep.

Robinson is similar in that he is just as good as establishing position on the block, but that is pretty much where the similarities in their post game end. Robinson is a physical specimen. His body looks like the mold of an action figure doll and he is as athletic and explosive as anyone at the power forward spot in the country. It’s rare to find that combination anywhere, let alone at the collegiate level; he overpowers defenders that are lankier and athletic but he simply jumps over the big men that can match up with his strength level.

The issue is that Robinson, right now, is not the most skilled post scorer. His back-to-the-basket game is developing and he has shown promise with his jump hooks and turn-arounds, but right now most of his damage is done through the sheer power of his game. Fluidity is not yet a strength.

The irony with that last statement is that Robinson is actually fairly dangerous as a face-up option. He handles the ball well for his size, which, when combined with his quick first step, means that he is able to get to the rim off of the dribble.

So who wins out? Who is the more effective post scorer?

Here’s to hoping that Bill Self and Thad Matta allow us 40 minutes to find out on Saturday.

Latest Posts
  1. Jim Boeheim issues statement, expresses disappointment in NCAA’s findings

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:40 PM EST

    AP AP

    Syracuse is facing a loss of scholarships and wins on top of probation.

  2. Ex-Seton Hall guard getting interest from ACC, Big Ten, SEC schools

    Mar 6, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

    AP AP

    The 6-foot-2 guard will have two years of eligibility remaining.

  3. Florida’s leading scorer expected to play against undefeated Kentucky on Saturday

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:42 PM EST

    ap ap

    The junior shooting guard has been out the last seven games with an ankle injury.

  4. Georgetown’s Tyler Adams, whose career ended after four games, will start on ‘Senior Day’

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:16 PM EST

    Georgetown Sports Communication Georgetown Sports Communication

    Tyler Adams played in just four games as a freshman in 2011-12 before a heart ailment ended his playing career. He’ll be in the starting lineup Saturday when the Hoyas host Seton Hall.

  5. Holy Cross fires head coach Milan Brown after five seasons

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:54 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Brown went 69-83 in five seasons at the helm at Holy Cross.

  6. Reductions in scholarship, off-campus recruiting will have significant impact on Syracuse moving forward

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:14 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Since they’ve signed for players for next season, Syracuse won’t begin the process of removing 12 scholarships over a four-year period until the 2016-17 season. But there’s still work to be done.

  7. NCAA sanctions Syracuse; 12 lost scholarships, nine-game suspension for coach Jim Boeheim

    Mar 6, 2015, 12:35 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The basketball program will be on probation for the next five years, and they’re losing 12 scholarships over the next four seasons.

  8. Summit League Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards

    Mar 6, 2015, 12:20 PM EST

    Lawrence Alexander (Getty Images) Lawrence Alexander (Getty Images)

    The Summit League will have one of the most entertaining tournaments, as always.

  9. Trips to Minnesota include a rite of passage for Wisconsin freshmen (VIDEO)

    Mar 6, 2015, 11:29 AM EST

    Bo Ryan Bo Ryan

    The Wisconsin freshmen have to dive for a loose ball off of the edge of the raised Williams Arena court as a rite of passage when the team plays at Minnesota.

  10. Bracketology: No. 1 seed line remains unsettled

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:20 AM EST

    AP Photo AP

    Kentucky appears to be the only lock with less than two weeks to go before Selection Sunday.

  11. Pregame Shootaround: Harvard hosts Yale with first place on the line in the Ivy League

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:30 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The winner in Cambridge will be one win away from earning the Ivy League’s NCAA tournament berth.

  12. Report: NCAA investigation of Kansas freshman focuses on possible receipt of impermissible benefits

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:30 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The NCAA has yet to interview Cliff Alexander in regards to the case, with the report citing the family’s hiring of legal representation factoring into that.

  13. Bubble Banter: Davidson with a big win, Stanford in trouble, and … VCU?

    Mar 6, 2015, 1:34 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    All of the bubble winners and losers from Thursday.

  14. Late Night Snacks: North Florida, USC Upstate advance to Atlantic Sun title game

    Mar 5, 2015, 10:23 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    No. 6 Wisconsin is the outright Big Ten champion, and Delaware State’s Kendall Gray went off for 33 points and 30 rebounds.

  15. Draft age limit to be a major issue for NBA, college basketball in near future

    Mar 5, 2015, 8:34 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    With the NBA and NBPA having different views on the limit, college basketball can only wait and see what happens.

  16. Injured Kansas forward’s status will be re-evaluated next week

    Mar 5, 2015, 7:36 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The only sure thing at this point is that Perry Ellis won’t be on the floor when the Jayhawks visit No. 15 Oklahoma Saturday.

  17. NCAA announces upgrade to its replay and timekeeping systems for men’s and women’s tournaments

    Mar 5, 2015, 6:44 PM EST

    NCAA NCAA

    DVSport will handle the video replay technology, with Precision Timing Systems handling the timekeeping.

  18. Concussion to sideline UNLV freshman guard for Saturday’s regular season finale

    Mar 5, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Patrick McCaw has been one of UNLV’s most consistent players this season, but he’ll have to miss Saturday’s game at San Jose State.

  19. Report: Duke not currently investigating Rasheed Sulaimon

    Mar 5, 2015, 4:56 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    This situation seems certain to end up in a mess.